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“I was a little excited,” Aimee said, when she heard her sister’s decision. “I definitely wanted her to make the decision for herself; I didn’t want her to feel pressured to come here just because I was here. I wanted the decision to be entirely hers.”
Since being here for more than a semester, both sisters agree it is a huge benefit having one another on campus.
“Now that I’m in the thick of it, having a sibling here is more of a benefit than a need,” Bre said. “I can talk to Aimee whenever I want; I can ask her about different things.”
Aimee appreciates the “extra financial aid.”
Siblings Andrew and Nicole Opgenorth are also from Orange City. They are two in a set of triplets, or as Nicole describes it, they are both “Wombmates.” Nicole decided to come to NW first.
“We kind of grew up around NW,” Nichole said. “I loved the Christian atmosphere of the college and the residence life. I just knew a lot of the people that go here and work here so it already kind of felt like home. The choice was simple for me.”
Although both siblings do not mind having each other on campus, they both pointed out that even though they are used to sharing the same friend group in high school, there are still times when going to the same college is not the easiest.
“Sometimes I kind of want to be at my own place, my own college,” Andrew said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with running into Nicole, but sometimes I just want to be away.”
A lot of siblings have shared the same feelings. Sometimes going to the same school makes them feel like they are living the same life or that they are in the shadow of another. Aimee Harmelink wondered about this when her sister Bre announced she was coming to NW.
“I don’t want Bre to be living in my shadow,” Aimee said. “I think it’s frustrating for her when someone comes up and says ‘Hey you’re Aimee Harmelink’s sister!’ I think the worst part is when people don’t realize we’re individual people.”
Abbey Slattery expressed the same feelings being the younger sister.
“[My sister and I] are very similar, and we’re also very different,” Abbey said. “It’s annoying when people think we’re the same people.”
Joanna Guhl was a little hesitant for the same reasons when she chose NW, although her older brother, Ben Guhl, said he was “overfilled with joy” when he heard her decision.
“There were a lot of pros and cons,” Johanna said. “I knew I could become friends with a lot of his friends, but the con would be that I also wanted to be my own person.”
For the most part, though, the Guhls have found their relationship has grown.
“I think in high school we never really talked about life,” Ben said. “But now that we’re in college, we talk more and are more open.”
Anthony Wubben and his brother, Jonathan, agree that although there are cons, the pros far outweigh them. Both live on the Heemstra wing in Colenbrander and say the best part is they get to share their college experience together.
“I think we’ve had a stronger relationship,” Anthony said. “[With] the three-year gap between us, I missed a lot of his high school years, so now that we’re in college we can kind of catch up and talk a lot more. I guess you could say our college relationship is like a cement truck mixing in our sediments, rocks and water, which would just be our experiences, working on paving our way through.”
Twins Natalie and Nathan Wheeler also appreciate the fact they can go through college at the same school. Both made their decisions separately but simultaneously.
“The best part is you know the activities that are happening on campus, so we can talk about the different things happening together,” Nathan said.
“We also know twice the amount of people,” Natalie said. “I know people; he knows people, so we collectively know a large portion of campus.”